collaborative, multi-partner and multidisciplinary research and operations; and, a focus on the quicker dissemination of project results and products.
Many geological surveys have undergone downsizing and budget reductions in recent years. In Europe, for example, the Geological Institute of Hungary (MAFI) was reduced in size by more than 50 percent following the collapse of the communist regime. In Germany, the Bundesanstalt für Geowissenschaften und Rohstoffe (BGR) has been held to very limited budget increases but has had to absorb the functions and responsibilities of the former German Democratic Republic (DDR) geological survey following reunification. The British Geological Survey (BGS) has for years struggled to maintain its basic, long-term core funding in the face of pressures to depend increasingly on revenues from research and service contracts. In North America, the Geological Survey of Canada (GSC) will lose about 30 percent of its base funding over the period 1995-1998.
The pressures on geological surveys due to budget and staff constraints have been intensified by requirements for expanded programs in environmental geosciences. With growing public concerns about the environmental consequences of industrial activities, including mining, and their long-term impacts on public health, the stresses in societies generated by land-use conflicts, and a myriad of related societal issues, geological surveys are turning their expertise and information bases towards these problems. In a downsizing environment, such program shifts make it even more difficult to maintain threshold levels of effort in traditional “core” areas (mapping, landmass investigations, mineral and energy resource studies, etc.) Ironically however, it has been the long-term past investment in such core activities that has equipped surveys with the very information bases and skills that are now being turned toward environmental issues.
The pressures noted above are forcing geological surveys everywhere to streamline operations and to develop innovative ways to stretch research and operational funds. In relations with clients and customers, surveys are striving to be more responsive to client needs through better communications, the use of external advisory panels and committees to guide programs and projects, the tailoring of research and products to specific needs of customers, and, in some cases, the conduct of joint projects with industrial clients. The British Geological Survey